We put the Ableton Push 2 up against the Native Instruments Maschine MK3 to see who wins!
It’s the shootout you’ve all been waiting for, the undisputed clash of the Titans, the Marvel vs DC of the production workstations available on the market today. The Ableton Push 2 vs Native Instrument’s Maschine MK3.
These two big names have been head to head for some time now, with loyal customers swearing by both. Ableton and Native Instruments have practically monopolized the market with their well designed, feature-packed all-in-one production suites that are quite frankly, hard to top. These workstations are your one-stop-shop for creating music of all styles, well suited for both beginners wanting to get into production as well as experienced producers looking to expand. The question is, which one do you choose?
Well, firstly, if you’re already an Ableton user and have been for some time, maybe your decision is a little easier than most. A sleek, dedicated and community-improved second-generation controller for the software you already love using? an unparalleled user interface with meticulously auto-mapped features and hands-on control that truly keep you “out of the box?”, come on.
Your software choice is a major distinguishing factor between these two units and should be the first decision you make before committing to a purchase. Unless your planning on or already using Ableton as your main software, it’s highly likely your going to be working on Native’s Maschine. The Maschine is designed to implement itself into most modern DAWs (including Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Cubase, GarageBand, FL Studio, Avid Pro Tools, PreSonus Studio One, and more) as a VST, Audio Unit, or AAX 32 and AAX 64 plug-in with full multi-core support. This means you can open up your Maschine’s dedicated third-party software, Maschine 2.0, in any DAW and start creating tracks. Whilst the Push 2 is solely a non-standalone controller for use with only Ableton.
However, It’s safe to say that Ableton as a software (preferably Live 9 or Suite) is FAR more extensive than Maschines 2.0 software. We’re talking about a fully fledged DAW used by the majority of Electronic music producers all around the world. This is the huge advantage of the Push 2, offering features and usability that is hard for Native to compete with without having an extensive DAW to operate alongside. Whilst Maschines 2.0 software, although always improving, is more groovebox orientated and is not going to be a contender for major DAWs anytime soon. Making the future purchase of additional software highly likely. However, Native instruments’ MK3 Maschine now includes an inbuilt 2-input audio interface. This is a superb addition and will for sure be a key factor for many of you out there looking to make music and record instruments whilst keeping costs low. It also turns the Maschine MK3 into an extensive sampler!
Live 10 comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. They share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, instruments, effects, and Packs. Remember, the price for the Ableton Push 2 alone only includes the Intro version of the software, so your VST library is not as extensive as Maschine’s until you are looking at the bundle with Ableton’s Live 9 or Suite software, which pushes the price up to £799+, but worth every penny. The included MASCHINE software comes loaded with an 8 GB sound library, created by renowned sound designers and artists. 8627 samples, 445 full drum kits, 388 multi-sampled instruments, 403 sliced loops, 1200 patterns, and 38 projects, plus five outstanding drum synths. Native also offers cheaper upgrades for their Komplete packages to further expand this library. So for those of you who value the additional library above extra mixing capabilities, you can have a vaster library for less money. However, If money is not an issue, I would seriously recommend a Push 2 bundle with either Live 9 or Suite if you can stretch it. This is truly a future-proof setup that will keep you going for years to come, with a library larger than you’ll ever need (and always growing!).
The GUI on both has its advantages. I would argue the Push 2 is easier to pick up and have a general understanding of basic features fairly quickly. Whereas the Maschine may require a little longer to properly understand the second-layer features and hidden bindings to navigate around the board confidently. For instance, the step sequencer, scaling and arrangement on the Push 2 is a joy to use, everything is laid out in front of you and changeable at the touch of a pad. Whilst Maschine relies more on a variety of shift bindings and screen navigation to get from A to B, which can make for an easy workflow – just make sure you learn the processes!
Do you wish to play your music live? Ableton Push 2 offers a Note and Scene view. Your scene view will allow you to trigger pre-made tracks, much like a launchpad, making it ideal for performance as well. Native also offer this feature, however, through another piece of hardware called the Native Instruments Maschine Jam at around £299. INFO HERE.
We haven’t really even touched the surface on what these machines can do. I just feel these are the main distinguishing differences asides from their similar features that will influence your decision. Given that these units are fairly “same-same” in what they offer, I would argue it’s the logistics (software in use, in need of an interface etc) GUI (user interface) and functionality (does it do what you need?) that will truly influence or determine your decision, as either of these are more than capable of producing great work in their own way. Both Ableton and Native Instruments offer excellent customer service and provide extensive demonstrations and walkthroughs on their sites to give you an idea of workflow and usability.
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